Nov 24, 2012

What happened at the Council of Chalcedon?

Chalcedon took place in the 5th century and was the result of the church needing to settle its Christological disputes once and for all. Many heresies had arisen since Arianism in the area of Christology: Nestorianism, Apollinarianism, and Monophysite Christology (although later) will suffice as examples.

One of the effects of all of these controversies was that it helped sway many theologians who were still cool to Nicene theology because of some questions about the wording used. Over time, more and more people began to see the need for stronger words and even more precise definitions for the sake of clarity in regards to the person of Christ.

One big idea that Chalcedon focused on was that Christ had two natures: one human, the other divine. The idea of the God-Man meant that Jesus was 100% real and 100% God, not a 50/50 combination, which would result in a third kind of being, neither God nor man. This also meant that although the two natures were both in the one person of Christ, they were not intermingled and instead distinct. So Christ was one person with two natures.

Another key idea was that Jesus is eternally incarnate, meaning that when the Second person of the Trinity took on flesh, he would now forever possess two natures. Jesus did not lose or cast off his human nature at any time and even now is the God-Man interceding for us in heaven.

I agree with those who think that Chalcedon provides us with a complete and accurate representation of biblical Christology.

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